Be Wary Of The Democratic Wing Of The Protest Movement

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Above Photo: From thehill.com

There is good news in the Boston Globe today for the managers, development directors, visionaries, political hacks and propaganda flacks who run “the Progressive Movement.”   More easy-to-earn and easy-to-hide soft money, millions of dollars,  will be flowing to them from super rich Democrats and business corporations.  It will come clean, pressed and laundered through Organizing for Action, the latest incarnation of the Obama Money Machine which has recently morphed into a “nonpartisan non-profit corporation” that will  ‘‘strengthen the progressive movement and train our next generation of leaders.’’

Does this information concern you?  If not, you need to get out of the propaganda bubble of your Progressive Movement echo chamber and think.  Think hard.  Think about fundamental, radical, democratic, social and economic change, who might bring it about and how.  Ask yourself if the the rich elite, the 1%, are going to fund that.   Leave The Nation and Mother Jones on the shelf;  turn off Ed Schultz, Rachel Madow and Chris Hayes;  don’t open that barrage of email missives from Alternet, Media Matters, MoveOn, and the other think tanks;  and get your head out of the liberal blogosphere for a couple days.  Clear your mind and consider this:

The self-labeled Progressive Movement that has arisen over the past decade is primarily one big propaganda campaign serving the political interests of the the Democratic Party’s richest one-percent who created it.  The funders and owners of the Progressive Movement get richer and richer off Wall Street and the corporate system.  But they happen to be Democrats, cultural and social liberals who can’t stomach Republican policies, and so after bruising electoral defeats a decade ago they decided to buy a movement, one just like the Republicans, a copy.

The Progressive Movement that exists today is their success story.  The Democratic elite created  a mirror image of the type of astroturf front groups and think tanks long ago invented, funded and promoted by the Reaganites and the Koch brothers.  The liberal elite own the Progressive Movement.  Organizing for Action, the “non-partisan” slush fund to train the new leaders of the Progressive Movement is just the latest big money ploy to consolidate their control and keep the feed flowing into the trough.

The professional Progressive Movement that we see reflected in the pages of The Nation magazine, in the online marketing and campaigning of MoveOn and in the speeches of Van Jones, is primarily a political public relations creation of America’s richest corporate elite, the so-called 1%, who happen to bleed Blue because they have some degree of social and environmental consciousness, and don’t bleed Red.  But they are just as committed as the right to the overall corporate status quo, the maintenance of the American Empire, and the monopoly of the rich over the political process that serves their economic interests.

RICH DEMOCRATS TO PROGRESSIVES:  WE LOVE YOU, MAN!

After the 2000 presidential election, the Al Gore Hanging Chad Debacle, rich liberal Democratic elite began discussing, conspiring and networking together to try and make sure that no scruffy, radical  political insurgency like the Nader 2000 campaign would again raise its political head.  They generally loved Al Gore, the millionaire technocrat, and they put in play actions which led to the creation of a movement of their own that aped the right wing’s institutions.  They reached out to the well-paid professionals who ran the big environmental groups they already funded and owned,  and to other corporate reform and liberal media operations.    They followed plans drawn up by Democratic Party insiders who wanted nothing more than to win elections, and who saw the need for the tools and groups and campaigns the Right wielded.  They made it clear there would be wonderful financial rewards and career advancements for progressive leaders and their organizations who lined up with them.

The Progressive Movement we see today was created by a small group including Democratic political operatives and foundations including  TIDES (formed in 1976), the millionaires and billionaires of the Democracy Alliance, (formed in 2005) and eventually the Obama machine.

After Al Gore’s 2000 debacle, the rich liberal Democrats in the East and the West began to talk and meet.  The green elite funders and dot.com millionaires of the Bay Area solidified relationships with the Beltway think tanks, political consultants and and PR flacks.   Liberal Democratic Party players like MoveOn’s co-founder Wes Boyd and TIDES Drummond Pike drew closer with others including the George Soros, John Podesta and Stanley Greenberg crowd.  The Democratic Party defeats in 2002 and 2004 fueled further despair and solidified plans for the elite to build a new Progressive Movement that would serve their agenda.

This became very visible with the arrival of the Democracy Alliance.  A summer 2005 article in the Washington Post  made clear their intent to pour millions into creating and owning a Progressive Movement.  Looking back, someone needs to give these folks an award because the wealthy elitists in the Democracy Alliance succeeded wildly,  mission accomplished!

As the Washington Post reported,  “at least 80 wealthy liberals have pledged to contribute $1 million or more apiece to fund a network of think tanks and advocacy groups to compete with the potent conservative infrastructure built up over the past three decades.  …  The goal of the alliance, according to organizers, is to foster the growth of liberal or left-leaning institutions equipped to take on prominent think tanks on the right, including the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institution, the American Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute, as well as such training centers as the Leadership Institute and the Young America’s Foundation.”

The Washington Post explained, “There has been a flourishing of new, pro-Democratic think tanks and advocacy groups in recent years. Clinton administration chief of staff John D. Podesta established the Center for American Progress … and author David Brock helped create Media Matters for America last year, among others. All these groups are potential recipients of money from alliance partners. In addition,

the number of liberal bloggers on the Web has been growing at a fast pace … .  Jockeying for cash among possible recipient organizations has already begun. Robert L. Borosage, director of the liberal Campaign for America’s Future, said the alliance will fund a ‘set of institutions in this city to be in the national debate, and we would like to be one of them.’ ”

For almost a decade now the funders of the Progressive Movement, the rich Democrats of the Democracy Alliance and their cliques, networks and organizations, have employed and funded political hacks, fundraisers, pollsters, organizers and PR flacks.  Over the past ten years they have dumped more and more money into the big feeding trough shared by the major players of the Progressive movement.  The overall goal and result has always been to bring withering rhetorical fire and PR attacks upon the Republican Right, while creating a tremendous fear of the Right to increase the vote for Democrats.  This has become Job #1 for the Progressive Movement.  No one quite remembers Job #2.

Real movements are not the creation of and beholden to millionaires.  The Progressive Movement is astroturf beholden to the rich elite, just as the Democratic millionaires and operatives of the Democracy Alliance intended.  The “movement’s” funding is in the hands of a small number of super rich Democrats and union bureaucrats and advisors who run with them.  Its talking points, strategies, tactics and PR campaigns are all at the service of the Democratic elite.  There is no grassroots organized progressive movement with power in the United States, and none is being built.  Indeed,  if anything threatens to emerge,  the cry  “Remember Nader!” arises and the budding insurgency is marginalized or coopted, as in the case of the Occupy Wall Street events.  Meanwhile, the rich elite who fund the Progressive Movement, and their candidates such as Barack Obama, are completely wedded to maintaining the existing status quo on Wall Street and in the corporate boardroom.  Their well-kept Progressive Movement is adept at PR, propaganda, marketing and fundraising necessary in the service of the Democratic Party and the corporate elite who rule it.

One of the Progressive Movement’s key new movers and shakers is Ilyse Hogue.  Her rise out of the green movement and into the highest echelons of Democratic power encapsulates how it all works.   In 2006 Hogue was recruited out of Rainforest Action Network by Wes Boyd of MoveOn to run their national campaigns.  Since then she has accumulated hats and desks at The Nation, Media Matters, the Soros-funded Super PAC Public Campaign Action Fund, and most recently the feminist lobby NARAL.  Hogue is an articulate and well-rewarded spokesperson, fundraiser and mobilizer for the new Progressive Movement. Her network of recent employers all benefited nicely from the successful work of the Democracy Alliance, TIDES, MoveOn, and Soros.   Anyone who wonders if there are good careers in the Progressive Movement can look at her and others and see the answer is clearly ‘yes’.

Every well-funded movement needs an echo-chamber to pump up its propaganda and messages, and for the Progressive Movement the Netroots Nation bloggers, The Nation, Alternet, Mother Jones, and scores of other journalists and pundits have filled the bill.  The development of the messages and talking points of the Progressive Movement is the realm of DC think tanks and organizations such as Media Matters, and a small army of flacks is also utilized including PR maven David Fenton,  pollster Stanley Greenberg and messaging guru George Lakoff.

CO-OPTING THE ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT TO WIN ELECTIONS  

After the 2004 flop of the Kerry/Edwards campaign, luck shone on the Democrats.  The over-reach of the neoconservatives, the failure to find those weapons of mass deception (sic),  the endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, turned American public opinion,  especially among the young, against the Republicans.  Growing anti-war sentiment, which had little to do with the organized anti-war movement, delivered to the Democrats what Governor Mario Cuomo called “The Gift.”  The horrific Iraq war, he explained to a Democracy Alliance gathering, was the gift that allowed the Democrats to take control of the US Congress.

It was at this point in early 2007 that the truly dark and cynical agenda of the professional Progressive Movement and the Democratic Party revealed itself.  Under Pelosi the Democrats could have cut off funding for Bush’s unpopular wars and foreign policy.  Instead,  with PR cover provided by MoveOn and their lobbyist Tom Matzzie, the Democratic Congress gave George Bush all the money he wanted to continue his wars.  For the previous five years MoveOn had branded itself as the leader of the anti-war movement, building lists of millions of liberals, raising millions of dollars, and establishing itself in the eyes of the corporate media as leaders of the US peace movement.  Now they helped the Democrats fund the war,  both betting that the same public opposition to the wars that helped them win control of the House in 2006 could win the Presidency in 2008.

Their bet paid off with a young, charismatic black candidate backed from his beginnings by Wall Street, and thus able to out-raise even the Clinton Machine for the big money provided by the Democratic elite.  Obama hired top online organizers and combined MoveOn’s “clicktivist”  style and expertise to both raise money and build an effective political machine.  The stock market collapse of 2008 was again like a gift for the Democrats, showing Obama’s cool contrasted with old John McCain’s panic.

Just before the Obama victory in 2008, Alternet’s Don Hazen interviewed Drummond Pike, the millionaire who founded the TIDES Foundation in 1976 and a founding member of the Democracy Alliance.  The topic was TIDES upcoming “Momentum” conference at a fancy San Francisco hotel.  The exclusive confab was described as “an invitational gathering of progressive donors and advocates” where “some of the most creative minds in the progressive community come together to challenge, inspire and energize each other.”  Pike said it was “where we bring funders, leaders of key nonprofits, think tanks and activist organizations together…   We are engaged in philanthropy. We granted $93 million dollars last year and manage grant-making for more than 400 individual and institutional donors.”  The wedding of the rich elite Democrats and the Progressive Movement just got better and better.

OCCUPYING OCCUPY FOR WALL STREET DEMOCRATS

After Obama’s 2008 victory the Progressive Movement celebrated itself and continued to solidify with ongoing funding from the Dem elite, playing a significant role in delivering the White House again to the Democrats in 2012.  One of their 2012 PR front stunts to benefit the Democrats was launched in early 2012, the “99% Spring.”

In the Fall of 2011, the spontaneous street action known as Occupy Wall Street withstood media derision long enough to earn its respect.  It’s images struck a chord during the recession.  Overnight protests in major urban areas might not have appealed to the typical Democratic voter, but bashing the rich did.  Occupy might have even threatened the Democratic Party had it ever been able to overcome its anarchistic roots and in some way produced a strategy and organization.  But its slogan “we are the 99%” resonated widely.

Nothing succeeds like success, and imitation is the most sincere flattery.  The Progressive Movement has plenty of bright marketers and messengers who saw the writing on Wall Street.  They decided to launch and hype an election year PR campaign to co-opt the message and theme of Occupy Wall Street.  They called it the 99% Spring, “Spring” as in the time of year but also as in Arab Spring of 2011.  When you don’t have a real Movement of your own, at least cop good language from some others!

What amused me most about the 99% Spring was its simultaneous audacity and vacuousness, and how obviously it was a front for MoveOn, Van Jones, and the messaging agenda of the Democratic Party.  And now it’s all gone, just a flash across the webpages of The Nation and Mother Jones, not even a website left behind with its web address up for sale to the highest bidder.  The Progressive Movement lives from PR campaign and to PR campaign.  When the money’s spent, the movement just pivots to the next bit of funding and a new campaign is launched.

I first heard of the 99% Spring in a February, 2012 email from the group formerly known as  SmartMeme, activists who work with the Progressive Movement and develop “stories” that can be used to get everyone thinking alike in a positive way.  They wrote:  “This spring is our opportunity to take the the emerging movement for the 99% to next level by following in the foot steps of previous successful movements and prepare for organized campaigns of sustained nonviolent direct action. SmartMeme is one of the initiating organizations of 99% spring because we believe the best way to challenge the corporate stranglehold on our economy and political system is with organized people power!”

Propaganda is my beat, so I was not impressed by this revolutionary development.   It sounded exactly as it was, a big flow of money into key Progressive Movement organizations to co-opt the brand of  Occupy Wall Street movement for the Progressive Movement and the Democrats.  In my email from SmartMeme there was a hotlink to the “the99%Spring” website.  Today that link and URL goes to NameJet, a company that auctions off unwanted web addresses.  How appropriate.

The MoveOn.org site on 99% Spring is still up as of this writing:  MoveOn pushed 99% Spring hard, and emails from their staffers employed revolutionary hyperbole that might have made Abbie Hoffman proud.  MoveOn wrote,  “groups from every corner of our movement are joining forces to do something that’s never been tried before. During the week of April 9-15, across America, we will bring 100,000 people together for an unprecedented national movement-wide training on what happened to our economy, on the history of peaceful direct action, and how — following in the footsteps of Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — we can take direct action this spring to challenge corporate power, end tax giveaways to the 1%, fight the influence of money in politics, and more.”

99% Spring organizers Liz Butler and Joy Cushman extolled similarly in their emails: “Imagine if the 99% of us for whom this country is supposed to work came together as a unified movement for democracy and justice? What could happen if hundreds of thousands of us were willing to take nonviolent direct action to reclaim the America we love from the banks and lobbyists who’ve stolen it from us?  Let’s find out.”

The SourceWatch website:  lists the groups promoting 99% Spring:  “Jobs With Justice, United Auto Workers,National Peoples Action, National Domestic Workers Alliance, MoveOn.org, New Organizing Institute, Movement Strategy Center, The Other 98%, Service Employees International Union, AFL-CIO, Rebuild the Dream, Color of Change, UNITE-HERE, Greenpeace, Institute for Policy Studies, PICO National Network, New Bottom Line, Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, SNCC Legacy Project, United Steel Workers, National Education Association, Working Families Party, Communications Workers of America, United States Student Association, Rainforest Action Network, American Federation of Teachers, Leadership Center for the Common Good, UNITY, National Guestworker Alliance, 350.org, The Ruckus Society, Citizen Engagement Lab, smartMeme Strategy & Training Project, Right to the City Alliance, Pushback Network, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Progressive Democrats of America, Change to Win, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Campaign for America’s Future, Public Campaign Action Fund, Fuse Washington, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, Citizen Action of New York, Engage, United Electrical Workers Union, National Day Laborers Organizing Network, Alliance for a Just Society, The Partnership for Working Families, United Students Against Sweatshops, Presente.org, Get Equal, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Corporate Accountability International, American Federation of Government Employees, Training for Change, People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER), Student Labor Action Project, Colorado Progressive Coalition, Green for All, DC Jobs with Justice, Midwest Academy, The Coffee Party, International Forum on Globalization, UFCW International Union, Sunflower Community Action, Illinois People’s Action, Lakeview Action Coalition, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, International Brotherhood of the Teamsters, Resource Generation, Highlander Research and Education Center, TakeAction Minnesota, Energy Action Coalition, Earthhome.us.”

In any good front group campaign lists like this serve a few purposes.  One is to give the impression that this is a really powerful and diverse effort with scores of leading organizations actively involved, rather than a well-funded PR effort run by a small group at the top, which it was.   Another purpose is to demonstrate that there is money behind this effort and that the major Progressive Movement hitters are involved.  When I saw the list I sent some emails to Progressive Movement activists asking why they were lending their names to a MoveOn-driven effort to co-opt the Occupy Wall Street for the Democrats.

Greenpeace’s Executive Director wrote back, clearly not sharing my view.  He said  “something funny is happening here. In a fascinating, good, confusing way.”  He believed that MoveOn and the public employee union SEIU were “focused on scaling civil disobedience. That’s different. You can look at it in many ways.  …  Friends asked us to sign on, we do that a lot.”

An employee of Campaign for America’s Future also gave 99% Spring a big left-handed thumbs up, writing me, “this is a ton of progressive groups trying to get a national movement going, organized, working together,” and “anything that drives the 99% versus 1% perspective advances everything we are trying to achieve.”

No one identified with the Progressive Movement would in any way question or criticize the 99% Spring, at least no one I could find.  And then my inquiries uncovered someone new who has a paid position in one of the groups.  She agreed generally with my perspective, and was disgusted by what she saw daily from her “movement”:  pandering to the rich elite; shallow public relations campaigns substituting for organizing; Democratic Party agendas; six figure salaries and consulting fees for the Progressive executives and consultants, and so on.  She saw the Progressive Movement a convenient way for the Democratic rich to control the rabble, manage dissent, and deflect attention from the need for fundamental, radical structural change in the United States.

Eventually she wrote an article under the pen-name Insider for CounterPunch exposing the 99% Spring as a front group for the agenda of the Democrats, organized largely by MoveOn.  The Insider’s  piece hit a nerve or two and gathered quite a bit of attention and clumsy efforts at rebuttal.

I bounced the piece around and became its defender and promoter.  She quoted me in her article.  I told her that the 99% Spring reminded me of the AAEI coalition, another MoveOn front that worked with Nancy Pelosi in 2007 to see to it that the Iraq war was funded and used as a political stick to beat Republicans in 2008.  Or the massively funded Health Care for America Now coalition backed by MoveOn in 2009 which made sure that single payer health care was ignored while the White House pushed its pro-insurance industry legislation derided as ‘Obamacare’.”

KEEP HOPE A JIVE

Predictably the echo chamber of the Progressive Media  —  bloggers, columnists and editors at The Nation, Mother Jones and Alternet and elsewhere who get funding from the Democratic Elite  — defended the honor of 99% Spring.  The Nation produced a special issue promoting it.  A Mother Jones writer claimed that it was an indication that Occupy Wall Street had co-opted MoveOn.

Some of the idealistic young green activists employed by 350.org bought heavily into 99%.  That inspired Insider to take a critical look at 350.org as a tool for Obama’s re-election.

Eventually, like all PR campaigns when the funding runs dry, the 99% Spring simply dried up and blew away.  It was nothing real, just election year pageantry from a Progressive Movement that — as the rich of the Democracy Alliance planned — would be a way to breathe some life into the morbid Democratic Party.  The 99% Spring showed again that the Progressive Movement primarily exists to stick it to the Republicans, the a mirror image of their think tanks, echo chamber media, and PR fronts that rich Democrats have created or funded.

RIP 99% Spring.  It was what we thought it was, all theater, and co-optation, all about getting Van Jones more publicity to promote Obama.

Will any of the paid professional Progressives ever admit so?  Not as long as their careers and funding depend upon it; they can’t afford to take off their rose-hued glasses.

More importantly, how do people who aren’t the kept, professional Progressives go about asking the right questions, organizing the right ways,  and making the fundamental, radical structural changes that will topple the institutional control of the 1% over our lives, communities, politics and biosphere?

I posed that question to someone not fooled by the foibles and feints of the Progressive Movement, my colleague Patrick Barrett, a University of Wisconsin academic who studies social and political movements.  A veteran of the 1960s civil rights and anti-war movements, Patrick has never swooned to the spell of the Progressive Democrats.  Patrick is one of the few truly wise people I know.

“What gets lost in all this faux movement politics,” said Barrett,  “is any real challenge to the growing imbalance of social, political and economic power. Quite the contrary, the ultimate impact of their actions is to reproduce if not  aggravate that imbalance. What we’ve got here is a deeply symbiotic relationship between a pseudo-movement that derives its raison d’etre and financial vitality from a vilification of the right, which it has helped to create and without which it would have no reason for existence. Indeed, the more extreme the right becomes, the better it is for them, since they live off of fear-mongering. To oppose the right in a meaningful sense would put them out of business. That isn’t to say that there is nothing to be feared in the right or that some of these folks don’t think they’re fighting the good fight, but rather that the two work in tandem, much like a good-cop-bad-cop team. As the right becomes ever more extreme, this Democratic Party cum non-profit industrial complex moves further and further to the right itself, thereby giving the Republicans and their ilk ever greater leash and making it easier to frighten the “progressive” masses.”

Barrett concluded, “Lest anyone think that this is some kind of conspiracy theory, it’s important to emphasize that this is primarily a function of social and economic structures and political institutions that create a market for these sorts of pseudo-movement leaders, who will flourish if the conditions are right. That’s why we need to focus our attention on altering those conditions, something these people have little or no interest in doing.”

  • Travis Steffen

    Good article. Read a lot of it, Agree. They aren’t learning anything. Skimmed a lot of it, but I am not the one you have to sell. It is the people who would never read the article. I am for an immediate and organized combined progressive party. Probably never happen. They are rallying quite a few people, not a lot of the smart ones, but wait….

  • DHFabian

    That took courage. Pointing out any of these things tends to result in accusations of being a Trumpite, a troll, etc., reportedly barred from discussion boards.

    Quick history: The Reagan Democrats of the 1980s moved further to the right to merge with the Clinton neoliberal wing in the 1990s. The Clinton wing have implemented more of the right wing agenda than Republicans would have dared to attempt — but they did it all to the beat of a rock and roll song. Liberals spent the last 20 years promoting middle class elitism, pitting the poor and middle class more deeply against each other. Over the past decade, we were treated to a barrage of anti-white rhetoric that served to pit us against each other by race. Divide, subdivide, conquer.

    But we aren’t supposed to talk about it, because that gets labelled “divisive.”

  • DHFabian

    The catch: How would we even define that today?

  • Aquifer

    Excellent piece – calling out org like 350.0rg for it’s pro Dem agenda usually gets you a kick in the butt :)

  • Steven Berge

    I have given up on any organization who’s main mission isn’t getting big money out of politics, because that is the problem from which all others flow. Even with all these “progressive” organizations, there is an inexorable deterioration of living standards, peace, freedom, and privacy. That should tell you that big money has co-opted the movements, so the individuals efforts get diffused harmlessly.

  • mwildfire

    I liked it too.

  • kevinzeese

    It doesn’t work like that. Yes, big money in politics is the major corrupting influence but people need to know why it matters. Some people are reached by the wealth divide and low wages, others by climate change and others by the privatization of education or healthcare — or other reasons. All these issues point back to the corruption of government by Wall Street and other big business interests. People are energized when they see the reason the issue they care about is off track. People are moved by what they care about. If we limited ourselves to money in government, many would stay home. We win with a mass movement that connects the dots, a movement that delegitimizes government because of their corruption.

    Also, there is not a lot that can be done about money in politics. The Supreme Court has issued a series of decisions that make it hard to solve without a constitutional amendment or the court reversing themselves. Many are working on the constitutional amendment without a lot of traction.

    If you want to think our strategic decisions are co-opted by money, you can live in that false fantasy world. If not, get to work on the issues you care about most. What did you do this week to get money out of politics?

  • lorilea

    And more. Clinton signed the bill that eliminated cash assistance to the poor, replacing it with block grants to the states who were then free to experiment with little to no federal oversight. The “welfare” rolls immediately dropped, but why? Did they get the freeloaders off the dole, or simply abandon people who were unable to comply with complicated rules and senseless requirements, or caught somewhere in the racist injustice system? We do know , twenty years later, that black children in Milwaukee are among the poorest children in the country, Wisconsin incarcerates a disproportionate number of black men. The ideological dark money assault continues and spreads, the Democrats are unable to honestly challenge it because they were complicit in implementing it, and their true constituencies, the managing class of all colors, benefit.

  • kevinzeese

    Poverty has been consistently rising since the Clinton. His destruction of poverty programs seems like one reason why.

  • sanity

    Thanks for this John Stauber.

  • donnasaggia

    It’s hard for many who can no longer identify politically as liberal, but who also don’t hold traditional conservative values. The term “radical” hasn’t been used in the US for a while, but there was a time when the real left (not the liberal “left”) was considered radical – meaning that it wanted to change society at the root, to uproot the capitalist system, rather than just reform it or put band-aids on it (like Roosevelt did).

    Whatever cache the term “liberal” once had, it is long gone, tarnished by decades of deceit, greed and war. The party that campaigns as liberal-progressive has been exposed as a fraud, and its supporters, the people who still like to think of themselves as humanitarians, are just wallowing in denial and self-deception.

    It becomes clearer each day that the Democratic Party and its supporters are not only *not* liberal, but they are the very antithesis of decent and humane – they are the forces of war and the status quo. Internationally, their Saudi allies are arming jihadis and sabotaging peace in the Middle East; their jihadi allies are chopping off heads and bombing hospitals; their German and French allies are supporting neo-Nazis and undermining the peace agreement in the Ukraine; and their Israeli ally is committing ethnocide, ramping up its land theft, and imposing a draconian apartheid on Palestinian people.

    These are the “friends” of US liberals: thieves, murderers, bullies and warmongers. As liberals desperately grasp for the high moral ground, declaring anyone not with them to be racist, sexist and xenophobic, we can take comfort in the fact that their choice of friends and allies undermines their empty rhetoric – as the saying goes, you are known by the company you keep.

  • Eric Marc Otto

    The talking point by the party politicians is that the protests are spontaneous and that is not the case. A lot of this stuff well coordinated and there is big money behind it. For Hillary and her diehard fans they cannot grasp what is written here with understanding. Hillary for them is a god. The problem is that a goodly amount of people have figured it out. The Russian story is in place to keep a majority Democrat from looking at the man behind the curtain. Still things are too broken not to suspect something even for the most chauvinistic of Democrats.

  • continuallyamazed63

    I quit donating to the ‘democrat’ party.

  • Steve Keightley

    For an article dated February 2017, I don’t understand why Bernie Sanders isn’t mentioned nor Trump’s victory and Repub sweeps of House and Senate?

  • Virginia Browning

    Thank you! Busy re-posting FWIW…

  • Virginia Browning

    Love this “they did it all to the beat of a rock and roll song.”

  • LoginNYC

    Non-Profit organizations are a major part of our political problem. They also contribute to the fall off of citizen participation–that is, real participation in real government oversight, as citizens instead, donate to these groups to relieve themselves of their own responsibilities as a citizen.

  • PEACEPATRIOT

    Lumping the supporters of the Democratic party, or for that matter supporters of any party as the “antithesis of decent and humane” may be a bit harsh. I excitedly went to a rally organized by women near me to work on an agenda. it was billed as Middle Peninsula Progressives. I had this great hope that a new movement was starting. AND THESE ARE PEOPLE THAT DO WANT CHANGE. But minutes after arriving, I sw that the Democratic Party had glommed on to this rally. They were so busy convincing these folks that been somewhat apathetic in the past that you cant change the system with the Democrats to back them. It was sad. But there genuinely are a LOT of PEOPLE that are ready to work for change. They need advice…they need acceptance by your obviously very “elite” group. Please find ways to help capitalize on the energy instead of wasting time trashing them. Find ways to go out their and be a buffer between the Democrats and these folks that GENUINELY want change….they just don’t know how to make it happen!!Maybe this old Grandma or the 2 young mothers that organized their event in Williamsburg are just too mainstream for the Popular Resistance.

  • PEACEPATRIOT

    Thanks for making these points

  • kevinzeese

    I agree. Criticism of the Democratic Party is not inconsistent with supporting and working with people who are Democrats. The two groups often disagree, e.g. 80% of Democrats support National Improved Medicare for All while the Democratic leadership refuses to put it on the political agenda.

    In fact, we need people registered as Democrats in order to build the kind of broad-based movement that is a mass movement that can transform the country. And, they need the movement as a place that can push the country where they want it to go which is often much further than the Democratic Party leadership wants to go.

    The movement needs to be independent of the Democratic Party because the party is corrupted by its financial ties to Wall Street and other big business interests. The movement should push for what is right and pull the political dialogue in our direction. As we grow and mobilize both parties will have to accept our demands.

  • Schwacke1

    I have been scanning the comments thinking exactly your thoughts.

  • steve13565

    And we laughed at how the Tea Party followers were had by the Koch brothers. Some of us even entertained the possibility that it could happen to us, but I, for one, dismissed it.

    I have since stopped supporting MoveOn.org, OFA, and Van Jones without even realizing the information in this article.

  • Z54

    With the democrats, the more things change, the more things stay the same. Just look at who the DNC had to choose from for their new leader. Same ol, same ol! A left over from the Slick Oily administration!

  • MaryAnnF

    Don’t mean to sound so completely ignorant, but all of this is entirely new to me. I’ve been bitching for months that the Democratic Party used to be the representatives of the working person, but during the campaign, they’d show up at anti-gun meetings wearing Prada, while asshole billionaire Trump caught the ear of the forgotten working person. Did Obama ever have union leaders come to a meeting at the White House? Nope, but the Orange Nutter just did, and there’s a photo to prove it.

    I admit that I’ve not been involved in politics, maybe ever, so I’ve a lot of catching up to do. Like millions of other Democrats, I’m a new activist and am immersed in this stuff a few hours a day, terrified at what he’s doing to our country. But it wasn’t lost on me for a single second that Bozo Hillary (my apologies to the real Bozo…he didn’t deserve that) ran a shit campaign, had her people oust Bernie behind his back, and even got primary debate questions ahead of time. Forget the fucking email server…she’s a goddamned cheater, and during the whole time Obama was in power, while he did do some good things, the whole 1% thing didn’t budge an inch.

    I don’t know what the answers are or where to turn, but I was directed to this article, for which I’m grateful. But to be honest, I find it overwhelming and somewhat unclear in its points, probably because of my ignorance. I get what you’re saying, though, as I recall being shocked that Clinton signed the NAFTA agreement way back when, which Trump wants to get us out of, and he’s right!!! (Or did that happen already…I can’t keep up.)

    My final point is that i agree that the Democratic Party has to change. If it’s any consolation, in my town (Hoboken, NJ) recently, the local Dems had a meeting and the DNC was invited, with both Hillary and Bernie people there. About 15 people were expected, and 150 showed up, and lemme tell ya, there was no love for Hillary there. Is it too optimistic to hope that another Bernie could come along, or that Bernie could even run again? Or do I sound naieve in light of this amazing article?

    Thanks for the patience to anyone who took the time to read this. I hope there can be a solution other than a third party, which everyone talks about at election time, then no one works on during the other four years. If only the Dems could get back to their working-person roots, for real. That used to be what they were all about, particularly on the local level.

  • Margaret Flowers

    The Democrats have been the party of the oligarchs from their inception. I recommend “The Democrats: A critical history” by Lance Selfa for a dose of reality.

  • kevinzeese

    Obama did have union leaders to the White House. In fact, during his first year the most common visitor was the president of SEIU. They provided cover for his horrible healthcare law by endorsing it.

    But, yes the Democratic Party needs to change unfortunately it is not capable of change. It has always been a party of the wealthy and always will be. They do a much better job of fooling workers than the Republicans do. But, don’t fall for it they represent Wall Street and war.

  • willow

    Another name for this phony baloney group of propagandists is the veal pen.
    https://shadowproof.com/2009/09/06/van-jones-a-moment-of-truth-for-liberal-institutions-in-the-veal-pen/

    If you call yourself a progressive, you’re a Clinton/Obama bot. Those of us who want to reform the system, and are as disgusted by Obama/Clintonjust as much as we are Trump, call ourselves “the left”. #DemExit is our battle cry. We voted for Green and told Hillary and her bots to go eff themselves. We are likely to vote again against all Dems running for federal office in 2018 and 2020. If we can survive Trump for 4, we can survive him for 8. Pelosi, Schumer, and the rest of these crooks think all they have to do is wait, and Trump will drive all the sheeple back home. It will be a cold day in hell before I vote for any of their puppets again.

  • WyrdestGeek

    Somewhere in that very long article, did the author get around to mentioning that, perhaps given Hillary’s failure and a supermajority of repubs currently tearing down… everything–

    that maybe the most *important* reason to not just suck the progressive propaganda teet… is that we already tried it and it didn’t WORK?

    Oh but hey look— I see a banner ad at the top telling me to donate. So– the message is that I should *still* give my money away. But instead of giving it to rich, powerful liberal conglomerate assholes who were ultimately proven to be impotent when it mattered most, I should give it to some *other* liberals who are… what? Somehow more deserving? … This isn’t away Star Wars movie. You’re not gonna get a successful revolution based on scrappy rebels alone.

    You might be able to *start* it like that, but if you want to pilot it to a successful conclusion, you’ll need to also find a way to get the rich powerful wannabe progressiveprogressives actively on your side and paddling in the same direction.


    Furry cows moo and decompress.

  • Maenad

    MaryAnn, i am really happy you read this, admitted you’re new to this understanding, and responded with questions. So refreshing!
    You’re so right that it will take much more than dropping a piece of paper in a box every couple years to fix this. I think we need to put faces on the local perpetrators who follow through the divide & conquer austerity programs instituted in D.C. If we start to scare our local politicians with massive public pressure, they’ll be sure their supervisors (donors and party leaders) hear them. No more business as usual as we meanwhile build resilience cooperatively.

  • What makes you think that Hillary is a Progressive? She isn’t. She isn’t even a real liberal, unless you mean it in the economic sense (which means Right Wing). “Liberal” and “Progressive” are not by any means synonyms.

  • Progressives never supported Hillary Clinton. We supported Bernie Sanders and later Jill Stein, or Jill Stein all along. The fact that the Limousine Liberals started trying to rebrand themselves as “Progressives” following their unwillingness to defend the label “Liberal” against Republican attacks in the 1980s does not mean that they are or ever were Progressives in fact, and there have always been Progressives who knew the difference. Progressives are Leftists. Hillary and Obama are neither.

  • willow

    First, they were liberals. Then they did successfully rebrand to progressive. No matter what they call themselves, they are neoliberals and the mirror image of the neocons. They co-opted the progressive label accurately or not, with or without permission, which is why I abandoned it when speaking about Bernie, Jill, and myself. They are more socialist democrats, populists, and on the left than those Reagan liberals and progressives. We are FDR Democrats and proud of it. Bubba and Obama criticizes FDR and embraced Reagan.

    You may be technically right and remain unclear. I want no association with Bubba Obamabush, and I want it abundantly clear.

  • willow

    DailyKos banned all Bernie supporters on March 15, 2916. They lay claim, and the MSM agrees, to being the largest “progressive” blog. They totally toe the Clinton and Obama line, and they are supporting the anti-Trump, pro Democrat protests and talking points. The largest “progressive @ blog says Hillary lost because of Russia, Bernie, Jill, white entitlement, sexism, and racism. The largest “progressive ” blog claims that not a of bit of her embarrassing loss to the unbalanced orange Cheetoh was because of Hillary herself, Obama’s crappy 8 years, Democrat’s 14 rotating villains voting with the GOP, superdelegates, or their support for unfettered and runs in free markets and war. The largest progressive blog has no problem with Obama looking forward on the bankers and war criminals instead of jailing them and droning the ME for 8 years. They think W. is a hero now, and W. and Michelle Obama are so cute together.

    The Clinronistas and Obamabots co-opted and corrupted the word progressive.

  • The Daily Kos got an earful from me around March or April, just before I unsubbed from their mailing lists. Kos can _call_ itself the King of France, but it doesn’t make it so. North Korea calls itself “the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.” Is there anything democratic about it? By all means, google “Progressive vs Liberal” and such things, and you’ll see there are plenty of sites out there that assert the differences. I’ve never heard Obama call himself a Progressive, and Hillary only did it once, because she thought it might get her more votes. They didn’t co-opt diddly, although they tried to do so.

  • kevinzeese

    Exactly, neoliberalism is the opposite of socialism. It is about privatizing everything especially government services. It turns public goods into commodities. It will make people pay for their human rights, e.g the right to healthcare.

  • kevinzeese

    That’s right, neoliberalism is the opposite of socialism. It is about privatizing everything especially government services. It turns public goods into commodities. It will make people pay for their human rights, e.g the right to healthcare.

  • willow

    Why do you keep telling me what I already know and already told you? No matter how many times I clarify my point, you kept missing it. Perception is reality, and the general public believes Obama and Clintons are progressive and liberal because the corporate media keeps telling them so. The media co-opted the label and gave it to them. You want to waste your time on that hill, knock yourself out. Good bye and good luck

  • You wrote earlier:
    “Those of us who want to reform the system, and are as disgusted by Obama/Clintonjust as much as we are Trump, call ourselves ‘the left’.”

    If you are concerned with perception that much, then you should be aware that “the left” is a term the popular imagination _associates_ with “Democrats,” be they the Neoliberals of the party establishment or the “Progressive Wing of the party” (which claims Bernie Sanders as its leader, fwiw, and which is still convinced that it can reform the Democratic Party, in spite of that having been tried for 30 years and having failed each time because the deck is stacked against any takeover by “grassroots activists and has been since the Dems rewrote their charter and bylaws following the ’72 election). Republicans call Democrats “the left,” and have done so for decades. Democrats even call themselves “the left,” and seem to do so more eagerly nowadays than they did back in the 1980s (or maybe I just don’t remember them doing so much; it’s been quite a while). Read any Right Wing rag, watch the talking heads on the television news; over and over again, you’ll notice the Right Wingers referring to the Democrats as “the left.” They even called Hillary a “leftist,” and referred to her ideas as such. Today post-election, they are still calling all the 20-somethings rioting in the streets “the left.” None of that is accurate, either, but you’re willing to overlook that popular perception for reasons which elude me; the inconsistency is rather strong. You might want to pay a bit more attention to “the media” as well, and notice that they call Bernie and his followers “Progressive,” but don’t generally use that term to apply to the establishment Democrats, unless the “media” in question is some Republican propaganda outlet which is intent on lumping all opponents (and “opponents” like the establishment Democrats) into the same box, due to the Social Reactionaries’ and Right Wingers’ embrace of Bifurcation Fallacy.

    I call myself “a Progressive Leftist” or “a Progressive Left-libertarian” (note no capital L, which would be associated with the so-called “Libertarian” Party, in the United States since 1970, not before, and not much elsewhere in the world), and I call myself “a Green Party of the US member.” I support “cooperative commonwealth,” which might be called “Tribalism” or “Eco-Socialism,” and which (“Cooperative Commonwealth” and “Eco-Socialism”) is in the GPUS party platform as a description of the Green perspective on Economics.

    You’re free to get alarmed when you see the word “Progressive” and try to distance yourself from it, but you really need to look into the reality of the situation in which those who are still in the Democratic Party (I first voted Green in a Presidential election in 1996, and have since voted for Green candidates fairly consistently across the board, when they were running) who reject Clintonism and the whole Neoliberal agenda refer to themselves as “Progressives,” You also have to acknowledge that “the left” has been used to refer to the Democrats for much longer than “Progressive” has been. And then, perhaps, you’ll see that “Progressive” is not what you think it is, and isn’t even as widely used for Clintonism and Obama as your contentions suggest.